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Why Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty didn’t get a full VAR review

We’re analysing every VAR decision made throughout all 64 games at the 2022 World Cup. Find out why the penalty that Cristiano Ronaldo won for Portugal against Ghana didn’t go to a full VAR review.

After each game, we take a look at the major incidents to examine and explain the process both in terms of VAR protocol and the Laws of the Game.

Fixtures, result & bracket: Daily World Cup schedule

Possible penalty overturn: Salisu foul on Ronaldo

What happened: Portugal were awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute when Cristiano Ronaldo was knocked over by Mohammed Salisu.

VAR decision: Penalty stands, scored by Ronaldo.

VAR review: This only required a quick check by the VAR, United States referee Armando Villarreal.

Replays showed that Ronaldo definitely got to the ball first ahead of Salisu before there was contact on the Portugal striker’s boot and upper body.

Even though this could certainly be considered a soft penalty, we have to look at it in VAR terms; it would not be seen as a clear and obvious error by the match referee, fellow American official Ismail Elfath. Equally, if the referee hadn’t given the penalty, it’s unlikely the VAR would have advised a spot kick.

If Salisu had got to the ball first before Ronaldo this would have been grounds for a full review, but unfortunately for the Ghana defender he failed to do so.

Ronaldo also thought he had scored in the 31st minute, but the referee had already blown for a foul against him for a push on Alexander Djiku. The VAR is unable to review anything after the referee’s whistle, so he cannot look back at the foul to award the goal.